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Museveni angry over blocked Ugandan exports



In his end-of-year message yesterday, President Museveni said people who are subjecting non-tariff barriers to member states are doing it to milk popularity but if mobilisation is done to show how their policies hurt all people of their countries, they would be exposed.

“We shall continue discussing with our East African Community partners and I am sure we shall end up with a real common market free of non-tariff barriers. Because those barriers hurt the wanaichi of all our countries. I have given you the simple example of banning rice. You hurt the Ugandan consumers, you hurt the Tanzania producers. So if there is mobilisation, actually some people think they will get popularity out of that, but if you get good mobilisation, those doing that can really be exposed,” President Museveni said.

Although President Museveni didn’t name the countries that have imposed non-tariff barriers, Kenya blocked Uganda’s milk products in their market.

President Museveni rejected his trade minister’s statement to retaliate and block Kenyan products saying it was against regional integration.

Uganda and Kenya are also fighting in court over access to the sea, especially on the importation of oil products.

President Museveni described blocking of goods from the region as a sin he personally can’t commit.

“The NRM [National Resistance Movement] will not be part of those blind policies. Some of the Uganda business people cite the non-tariff barriers practices by other countries because they tell me other countries are doing it. If they are doing it, that is their mistake… I will not be part of that. Of that letting down of the African people. Because like now, you see the issue of rice. You want to hurt two people. The Ugandan consumer who is lucky to buy with the same money three kilos of rice instead of buying one from Uganda,” he said.

He said in the 1990s when Kenya’s former President Arap Moi blocked the border to Ugandan goods, he rejected retaliatory action and kept the Ugandan borders open to Kenyan goods.

“I said I can’t retaliate. We shall not. If he has closed…I will not. Today, Uganda’s exports to Kenya are either equal to our imports or sometimes they are higher. So I refuse to be in that mistake. The issue of the Kenya and Uganda border was resolved. Rationality can’t be ignored indefinitely. We shall continue discussing with our East African Community partners… Because those barriers hurt the Wanaichi of all our countries,” he said.

While having an interview with major media houses in Kenya last month, Mr William Ruto, the president of Kenya, said in 2025 they would not import any maize because they have had bumper harvests in 2023.

Uganda is one of the major exporters of maize to the Kenyan market.




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